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BRE’s Solar Centre boosts UK’s renewables

22 January 2013

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) is set to open its new National Solar Centre in St Austell, Cornwall.

Opening in April 2013 and funded by the EU, Cornwall Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), its aim will be to research cost minimisation and increase industry confidence in solar energy.

The centre will aim to support development and understanding within the marketplace of the opportunities available using solar photovoltaic systems (PVs), engaging with businesses outside the traditional scope of the industry.

The government has targeted an increase in UK solar power capacity from 1.4gw to 20gw by 2020.

BRE director Nick Tune said: “We have a real opportunity here to drive the uptake of solar PV. The sector has seen a dramatic reduction in installed costs by up to 50 per cent from 2010-2012.

“The centre will help the sector deliver further reductions so solar PV can become competitive with other low-carbon electricity sources.”

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “Solar is an exciting and rapidly growing clean, green source of power and has a valuable part to play in the UK’s energy mix.”

The location for the centre was chosen primarily because over 55,000 solar PV installations are based in the South West of England, a UK majority. The centre will also provide direct support for small and medium businesses in Cornwall.